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Theme 3.4 Tourism

Candidates should be able to:

Describe and explain the growth of tourism in relation to the main attractions of the physical and human landscape.

Evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of tourism to receiving areas.

Demonstrate an understanding that careful management of tourism is required in order for it to be sustainable.


Case Study required for 3.4

• An area where tourism is important

What is tourism?

Tourism means travel away from home mainly for the purpose of leisure for at least one night but not more than one consecutive year. Day tripping is not regarded as tourism. (World Tourism Organization, UNWTO).


Benefits of tourism

Tourism can be viewed as a commercialized hospitality, travel and leisure industry – an industry to earn foreign exchange.
Tourism as a means to get knowledge, sharing cultural values and respect to humanity.

Promoting conservation  – eco-tourism and sustainable tourism (alternative tourism)

Tourism as a strategy for development generating multiplier effect.
Multiplier Effect: When an initial amount of spending usually by the government leads to increased spending by the tourists and results in an increased national income greater than the initial amount spent. Tourism can also be transformed as the modern variety of traditional pilgrimage, adventure and exploration.

Both in numbers and spending, the number one source of international tourists is China. In the league tables of the continents, Europe holds the number one spot as the most visited continents with more than 500 million visitors per year.

According to the UNWTO REPORT, International Tourism to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2024

Tourism Promotion: The beauty of the physical landscape

Tourism promotion video

Iceland: The land of fire and ice

Problems of tourism in Iceland


Primary touristic resources or physical landscapeThese are the physical factors that shape places into sites of leisure and tourism. These are attractions that pre-date tourism (not built for the purpose of tourism). Primary resources include the climate and other physical conditions such as scenery, wildlife, history and heritage.
Secondary touristic resources or human landscapeThese are human factors that shape places into sites of leisure and tourism. The extra facilities that are built to accommodate the tourists (hotels, restaurants, water parks, shopping and Cineplex etc.)
Small islands developing states (SIDS)Small island states heavily relied on tourism as a lever to economic development as limited land area and narrow resource base restrict manufacturing on large scale.
Multiplier effect of tourism (positive side)When an initial amount of spending usually by the government leads to increased spending by the tourists and results in an increased national income greater than the initial amount spent.
Leakages of tourism (negative side)Economic loss of tourists money, by tourists using companies not owned by the host country and spending money outside the host country (for example on a cruise ship)
It implies that the tourists money moving out of the host economy due to several reasons, leaving not much opportunity left for the local people to profit from tourism
ResortA settlement where the primary function is tourism. This includes a hotel complex.
Mass TourismMass tourism involves large number of tourists flocking into certain popular destinations. This kinds of tourism are generally operated by large touristic operators though package tours and are relatively cheaper but may adversely affect the local environment and community.
Objectives of Sustainable tourism1. Sustainable use of resources by meeting the needs of the present without harming the prospect of the future generation.
2. Supporting and involving local communities and creation of local multiplier.
3. Reduce-reuse-recycle (3R principles): reducing overconsumption and waste, recycling of tourists waste
4. Use of efficient environmental alternatives (eco-friendly paper bag, biking rather than using vehicles for sightseeing)
5. Maintaining biodiversity
6. Research and training, providing better information
7. Promoting respect for the natural, social and cultural environments
8. Integrating tourism into planning for development
Recent lexicon: glampingA form of camping involving accommodation and facilities that more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.
Touristic amenitiesThe basic facilities or services provided in a tourist destination. These may include accommodation facilities, transportation, catering, financial services, security basic medical infrastructure and waste disposal system, shopping centers, theme parks and other amusement facilities.
Domestic tourism means traveling within the country.

Why is tourism important?

Reasons for the growth and changing purposes of global leisure and tourism industry 

Economic reasons- Affluence and  greater accessibility

  1. Rising disposable income of the middle class .
  2. Decreasing cost and travel time (eg. Budget airlines) and travel rewards (air miles, bonus points etc). Click here to see the world’s renowned low cost airlines. 
  3. Increase in number of options and widening range of destinations. Paid holidays – People no longer need to save up their income through unpaid holidays.


Social and technological reasons

  1. Increase in creative and high skilled jobs, increase in paid leave as part of employee welbeing efforts of the companies. The number of hours in the working week have decreased. This means people have more time for leisure activities.
  2. Increasing desire to experience different cultures and landscape
  3. Increasing media coverage, greater accessibility and ease of travel
  4. Increase in international migration, diffusion of culture and social networking (people have relatives and friends living abroad)

Political reasons

  1. Many government has invested heavily to encourage tourism (as a development strategy)
  2. Government initiatives for major international events like Olympic and World Cup also attract huge amount of tourists.
  3. Better political link and cooperation.

Ecotourism: Views of the locals

Ecotourism saved the ocean in Raja Ampat

Primary and secondary touristic resources in Venice

Touristic menace in Venice

Problems and tourism Management Explanations
Environmental challenges to touristic expansion
Increased water consumption, increased traffic and associated pollution (water, noise, aesthetic), loss of habitat and biodiversity, increased waste produced requiring disposal, CO2 emissions and higher carbon footprint (especially in case of the long-haul flights), consumption of local natural resources, price inflation.
Enclave tourism Local businesses often see their chances to earn income from tourists severely reduced by the creation of "all-inclusive" vacation packages. When tourists remain for their entire stay at the same cruise ship or resort, which provides everything they need and where they will make all their expenditures, not much opportunity is left for local people to profit from tourism.
Critical issues in Tourism development in Seychelles
Seychelles has met all its UN developmental goals with more than 95% of the population having access to drinking water and electricity, but it is evident that existing infrastructure will not be adequate to meet present trends. Food security will remain an issue in view of the country’s dependence on imported food, and increased pressure to further convert existing agricultural land. There is an increasing trend towards consumption that creates ever larger ecological footprints, including increasing generation of wastes.

Seychelles’ unique and diverse biodiversity is under threat primarily from intense tourism development pressure, environmental degradation and pollution. Impacts of climate change are likely to become more evident.

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